Jump to content

Should Vets Be Sparing Ovaries? How About Doggie Vasectomy?


Guest Roux
 Share

Recommended Posts

So, I have often wondered why we don't leave the ovaries when we spay our female greyhounds, since research is indicating how important it is to a woman's health to keep her ovaries, if possible.

 

Today, I found the following discussion about ovary-sparing spay for dogs, especially in large or giant breeds, by the Parsemus Foundation. Here is the link: https://www.parsemusfoundation.org/projects/ovary-sparing-spray/

 

If there are hormonal benefits to keeping the ovaries that include less incidence of devastating illnesses such as various cancers, as well as many other diseases, why haven't I heard more about this? I do see that keeping ovaries may be linked to mammary tumors, so there may be positive and negative consequences of partial spay that need to be watched. But, it sounds like the positives may greatly outweigh the negatives.

 

My one question is will a greyhound with an ovary-sparing spay still go into season just like an intact female (without the major discharge, of course)?

 

They also discuss vasectomy as a healthier option for males.

 

Does anyone out there have any experience with this? Opinions?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a great article - thanks for sharing.

 

More and more evidence is starting to point toward the health benefits of delaying spay/neuter, especially in males including a reduced risk of bone/joint related problems like hip dysplasia and bone cancer. I can post links to some journal articles later. The original spay/neuter recommendation of 6 months was based primarily on the study that looked at an increased risk of breast cancer. Unfortunately, that's very limited in scope although there is an increased risk in female dogs.

From what I've read recently, if I had a puppy I would wait until the female had gone through 1-2 heats and then spay. I think that provides a good balance between allowing for normal development and reducing risk of things like breast cancer, pyometra, etc. For a male dog, I would wait until at least 18 months and then pursue vasectomy.

 

Vasectomy is being offered in my area now, but very few vets are doing it so it's costly. My hope is that over time more will start to offer it and it will be more financially attainable for the average pet owner. I haven't heard as much about ovary sparing surgery.

 

I know this can be a very touchy subject because of the number of homeless animals, but from a medical (and behavioral) health perspective, removing sex hormones before a dog is developed makes no sense. Imagine what the ramifications on physical and mental development would be if we removed our children's sex hormones when they were 10-12 years old. That's what we're doing to our dogs. These surgeries certainly seem to offer a best of both worlds approach so I hope there will be more support of them in the future.

Edited by NeylasMom

gallery_12662_3351_862.jpg

Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This has been on my mind for a few weeks since I read a book (Run, Spot, run : the ethics of keeping pets / Jessica Pierce.), they cover many facets of canine use by people. The part about the spay/neut surgery made enough of an impression that I would consider a less invasive surgery for my next dog.

 

It looks like parts of Europe are a bit more progressive in doing spay/neut surgeries that leave most of the components intact - maybe someone will respond from one of those countries .... would love to hear more.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This has been on my mind for a few weeks since I read a book (Run, Spot, run : the ethics of keeping pets / Jessica Pierce.), they cover many facets of canine use by people. The part about the spay/neut surgery made enough of an impression that I would consider a less invasive surgery for my next dog.

 

It looks like parts of Europe are a bit more progressive in doing spay/neut surgeries that leave most of the components intact - maybe someone will respond from one of those countries .... would love to hear more.

 

This looks like a very interesting book. It is now on my Kindle. Thanks!

 

That's a great article - thanks for sharing.

 

More and more evidence is starting to point toward the health benefits of delaying spay/neuter, especially in males including a reduced risk of bone/joint related problems like hip dysplasia and bone cancer.

 

I know this can be a very touchy subject because of the number of homeless animals, but from a medical (and behavioral) health perspective, removing sex hormones before a dog is developed makes no sense. Imagine what the ramifications on physical and mental development would be if we removed our children's sex hormones when they were 10-12 years old. That's what we're doing to our dogs. These surgeries certainly seem to offer a best of both worlds approach so I hope there will be more support of them in the future.

 

Glad you weighed in, Jen. Naturally, I understand why making changes to make spay/neuter later in animals' lives could have devastating consequences with the proliferation of unwanted births, but there must be some balance that would allow for healthier animals. I do think the questions need to be asked.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would be concerned with the hormone-driven behaviors of animals that still had their major sex-hormone producing organs left behind. I don't know of many people that would be all right with altered 'tomcats' that had the urges to spray (not to mention the urine stink!), the altered 'queens' that went into heat, or the dominance displays (and marking behaviors) of male dogs who have the urges to mate. (I've not dealt with unaltered female dogs, so don't know about their behaviors.) I would think it would be frustrating for the animals to have such a basic biological drive as mating throughout their lives and not have the ability to perform it.

 

Not to mention the difficulty of not being able to easily tell if it has been done (especially males, but females too if they do 'go into estrus') and are found as strays. Would there have to be something like a tattoo or ear tip (wouldn't work for ear-cropped dogs) or something to certify it was done and they were to stray?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Altered male AND female cats can still spray and urine mark, I've seen it myself (I know, anecdote is not data!). The neutering cuts down on the smell and most of the roaming and fighting, but some cats are just persistent.

Current Crew: Gino-Gene-Eugene! (Eastnor Rebel: Makeshift x Celtic Dream); Fuzzy the Goo-Goo Girl (BGR Fuzzy Navel: Boc's Blast Off x Superior Peace); Roman the Giant Galoot! (Imark Roman: Crossfire Clyde x Shana Wookie); Kitties Archie and Dixie

Forever Missed: K9 Sasha (2001-2015); Johnny (John Reese--Gable Dodge x O'Jays) (2011-19); the kitties Terry and Bibbi; and all the others I've had the privilege to know

36938152140_1a2fd29a1f.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Altered male AND female cats can still spray and urine mark, I've seen it myself (I know, anecdote is not data!). The neutering cuts down on the smell and most of the roaming and fighting, but some cats are just persistent.

I know. I've volunteered at humane societies and seen the large numbers of cats that are surrendered due to 'inappropriate elimination' - and would hate to see that number jump because of hormonal urges. My friend had a neutered boy who was stressed by visiting neighborhood cats and marked in response. She should have bought stock in Nature's Miracle, she used so much of it. Ugh. He was so sweet otherwise though (lived to 17). I would think that strays ('vasectomized' or not) might be more inclined to visit and spray your house if your female smelled like she was in estrus. Yuck! Our house has had enough of those kinds of visitors, and our cats are spayed & neutered.

 

Maybe these concerns wouldn't be an issue. But we already have people that can't handle other 'normal' pet behaviors that I would think adding hormonal behaviors to the array of possible 'problem' behaviors would increase animal abandonment or (if they are lucky) surrender to shelters. If it became a primary method of sterilization instead of selected by a few select people who are ready and capable of dealing with the potential issues.

 

(Part of my view is knowledge of gelding versus stallion - or 'proud cut' gelding - behaviors. I know we're talking about different species and sizes, but there is precident.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest DarkHorse

I know this can be a very touchy subject because of the number of homeless animals, but from a medical (and behavioral) health perspective, removing sex hormones before a dog is developed makes no sense. Imagine what the ramifications on physical and mental development would be if we removed our children's sex hormones when they were 10-12 years old. That's what we're doing to our dogs. These surgeries certainly seem to offer a best of both worlds approach so I hope there will be more support of them in the future.

 

Keep in mind that human hormones/cycles are not the same as dogs/cats, so this is a bit of a false equivalence - there's no such thing as doggy menopause, for example. And we do have some knowledge of what happens when young boys are castrated - eunuchs and castrato were both not uncommon at one time. There were definitely impacts, but it seems like depression and a tendency towards being overweight are the two most commonly reported.

 

If science shows that leaving ovaries and testicles or delaying altering is the best choice, I'm all for changing the standard. But doing it based on "well, imagine how this would seem if we did it to humans" is foolish. Humans and dogs/cats (and most other mammals) quite simply have very different hormones and reactions to them, so you can't say that something that would be bad for us is bad for them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Prozac can help with kitty spraying, but I think my dog's mission in life is to mark every bush, tree, rock, pampas grass, he encounters!

Current Crew: Gino-Gene-Eugene! (Eastnor Rebel: Makeshift x Celtic Dream); Fuzzy the Goo-Goo Girl (BGR Fuzzy Navel: Boc's Blast Off x Superior Peace); Roman the Giant Galoot! (Imark Roman: Crossfire Clyde x Shana Wookie); Kitties Archie and Dixie

Forever Missed: K9 Sasha (2001-2015); Johnny (John Reese--Gable Dodge x O'Jays) (2011-19); the kitties Terry and Bibbi; and all the others I've had the privilege to know

36938152140_1a2fd29a1f.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really appreciate everyone's positions on this, and am truly interested in more discussion. But, I still have not seen one of my questions answered. Does anyone have experience with a greyhound who has gone through ovary-sparing spay? Do they still go into heat? If so, does it last as long (inasmuch as it is perceived by male dogs)? I still deal with a marking male whippet who was neutered at 4 months, so I get all the inconvenience there – neutered or not.

 

The primary reason I am asking is because I just went through losing a 7 year old female greyhound to osteo, and am seeing that some research points to lower incidence of this and several other problems by either sparing ovaries (they think) or timing the spay during a particular time in the cycle. I may be in a position to make this decision for my next greyhound, and want to give her the very best chance for a healthy life that I can.

 

 

I read this article with interest, but it makes me even more confused. It sounds like the margins are pretty small to make a marked difference by sparing ovaries (or testes) or not, except in the case where you choose to spay/neuter when they are pups, or wait until they are mature. In my case, I will certainly be dealing with a mature female, probably between 1.5 to 2 years of age.

 

So, this may be pretty personal for me and my next hound. What would you do in my position? Thoughts?

Edited by Roux
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Sportingfields

I think your best bet for educated, sound answers to your medical questions, you need to discuss this with Dr. Couto, whom as far as I know, is still the lead on osteo in Greyhounds.

 

From a human perspective, when a females tubes are tied and ovaries are left, they cycle normally and continue to bleed however they did before the surgery. Allowing that dog's reproductive system is not that different, I'd expect her to have full heat cycles with all the mess and males howling. Sexuality is not diminished in human females or males that have vasectomies. I doubt dogs are that much different. There is a huge genetic component that you are trying to best and beat with your original post, in a field that experts and researches are just barely scratching the surface. I'm all for doing everything reasonable to prevent disease, in both animals and humans. Just understand, in 2016 this is still on par with the roll of the dice and genetics is what is holding and rolling them.

 

I am truly sorry for your losses. We've had our share too, both beloved humans and dogs and cats, so I understand, some of your pain. I hope time is gentle, eases your heartache and replaces it with sweet memories of years together.

Edited by Sportingfields
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think your best bet for educated, sound answers to your medical questions, you need to discuss this with Dr. Couto, whom as far as I know, is still the lead on osteo in Greyhounds.

 

From a human perspective, when a females tubes are tied and ovaries are left, they cycle normally and continue to bleed however they did before the surgery. Allowing that dog's reproductive system is not that different, I'd expect her to have full heat cycles with all the mess and males howling. Sexuality is not diminished in human females or males that have vasectomies. I doubt dogs are that much different.

 

Thank you for mentioning Dr. Cuoto. I had not thought of him in this instance.

 

The overy-sparing surgery in dogs I was referring to actually removes the entire uterus and cervix, and very specifically so as not to encourage pyometra. That was why I was wondering what kind of cycle a female would have with only ovaries remaining and nothing else. I know the hormones would be active as usual (which is the whole purpose), but I was wondering how the experience might be different since almost all the reproductive organs would be gone. Would she still attract males, etc.?

 

As you suggested, Dr. Cuoto.... :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Sportingfields

When you speak to Dr Couto, can you ask him, as I'm nosy now :). by doing a partial hysterectomy, do the ovaries left behind still fully function? Or do they only function to a point, as you've now interrupted the reproductive cycle? If they only partially function, to what extent and what benefits do they give the body? Are there any negatives to doing this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...